WASHINGTON: Virgin Atlantic had to cancel a flight from Manchester to New York at the last minute after a passenger noticed missing screws on a panel of one of the Airbus A330’s wings just before take-off on Jan 15, reported German news agency (dpa).

The man promptly alerted the cabin crew. He mentioned that while he’s a confident flyer, his partner was anxious upon hearing the news, which led him to inform a flight attendant as a precautionary measure.

The airline staff assured the passenger that there was no safety issue with the wing, but his concern grew due to a recent incident in which an Alaska Airlines plane lost its door plug and a chunk of its fuselage flew off mid-flight.

The airline representative stated that the flight was cancelled to “provide time for precautionary additional engineering maintenance checks, which allowed our team the maximum time to complete their inspections” for the safety of the customers and crew.

Airbus chief wing engineer Neil Firth confirmed that the missing screws did not affect the wing’s structural integrity or load capability.

Despite the disruption, the man and his partner eventually reached New York City on another flight. This incident highlights the importance of stringent safety measures in the aviation industry, even for seemingly minor issues. - Bernama